Each week, Torontoist examines the upcoming TV listings and makes note of programs that are entertaining, informative, and of quality. Or, alternately, none of those. The result: Televisualist.
We are fairly sure that Trump has special attachments in place to keep this sort of thing from happening. Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.
MondayPirate City is a two-hour docu-special about the history of Port Royal, the 17th-century pirate port in Jamaica, and Henry Morgan, the infamous privateer after whom Captain Morgan brand rum is named: it’s a combination of sorta-cheesy swordfight re-enactments and documentary segments about archeologists digging up the remains of Port Royal, which was destroyed in an earthquake in 1692. It’s good teevee. (History Channel, 9 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Boy Meets Curl,” wherein Homer and Marge compete in curling at the Vancouver Olympics. We are contractually obligated to mention it since, you know, Canada. “Let us curl, my lady. Let us throw and sweep between until the heavens themselves droop their jaws in wonder and envy. And afterwards, there will be beer and cocoa with marshmallows floating in the foam. And if from now till the end of time someone should ask what we were doing on the eve of the 17th of November, we shall proclaim that we were curling.” (Fox, 11 p.m.)
TuesdayArgument: Scent of a Woman is actually more remarkable for Chris O’Donnell’s performance than Al Pacino’s. Pacino chews scenery and is magnetic and all, to be sure, but without O’Donnell absolutely selling the reaction to Pacino’s behaviour, we think the movie just wouldn’t work. Like Geoffrey Rush in The King’s Speech or Ethan Hawke in Training Day, O’Donnell’s job is to make the lead performance so believable by buying into it that his counterpart wins an Academy Award. (AMC, 8 p.m.)
The Man Who Knew Too Little is a movie that relies on Bill Murray making you think he can really be so clueless as to mistake actual spies for a “spy game” interactive experience for ninety minutes (in viewing time) or months (plot-of-the-movie time). Murray mostly succeeds, but as relatively unseen Bill Murray secret successes go, this is no Quick Change. (CHCH, 8 p.m.)
WednesdayHappy Endings got renewed for a second season! This is good news, both because it means a decent sitcom will get more episodes, and because it certainly means that Very Important Television Executives read this column and realized that we represent the voice of the masses. Which doesn’t explain why they haven’t cancelled The Event yet, but regardless. Fear us! (ABC, 10 p.m.)
ThursdayThe Big Bang Theory concludes what’s been a mostly disappointing and bland season with Leonard moving out of Sheldon’s apartment and Raj moving in. Although we have nothing but love for Mayim Bialik’s Amy Farrah-Fowler (one of our new favorite television characters ever), Sheldon has become so much of an over-the-top cariacature and Chuck Lorre’s trademark nihilism has become so prevalent in the writing that this show isn’t really believable anymore: like Two and a Half Men, almost everybody on the show is an asshole or acts like an asshole just about all the time, and no matter how good Jim Parsons’ delivery can be, it doesn’t matter if there’s nothing worthwhile backing it up. (CTV, 8 p.m.)
The Office also winds up its season with an episode devoted to finding the Next Michael Scott. The show has been teasing Will Ferrell as replacement for Steve Carell, but there’s no chance they can afford his salary unless he’s willing to take a major pay cut. Jim Carrey, Ray Romano, and Ricky Gervais appear in this episode as well, but again, they’re all likely out of pay range. Catherine Tate and James Spader, also appearing, are more likely candidates. But who’s to say it won’t just be Dwight or Jim? NBC’s done a good job of keeping the surprise under wraps so far. (Global, 9 p.m.)
FridaySupernatural finishes season six, which has been honestly better than it had any right to be, considering it was the sixth season of a show originally designed to last five seasons and which had concluded its years-long story in most satisfying fashion. But the show has taken that and run with it, using “what the hell happens now” as its story arc, which was just sort of crazily brilliant. And it’s been renewed for a seventh season, so all you Jared Padelecki fans out there can pump your fists triumphantly. (CHCH, 8 p.m.)
90210 concludes. We’re not going to pretend we care. (Global, 9 p.m.)
The WeekendWe don’t know what the cachet of the 2011 Billboard Awards is. Is there seriously a need for another set of music awards? These awards were discontinued in 2006 and nobody really seemed to care, possibly because there’s no critical analysis involved: if you sold the most records in a given category, you won the award. We suppose it’s more nakedly honest than most of these awards shows, but it also means there are literally no surprises involved and the entire affair is just sort of soulless. But that’s the music industry for you these days. (ABC, 8 p.m. Sunday)
Celebrity Apprentice ends, and at this point it’s sort of sadly anticlimatic because now that NBC has announced a new season of Apprentice for next year, it’s obvious that Donald Trump isn’t going to run for president after all. Which most people probably thought was the case, but personally? We think he was planning to do it for a while, because you don’t go around being racist in the media for a couple of months for no reason. No, what we think happened is that Seth Meyers’ speech at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, where he absolutely savaged Trump, made the Donald recognize that if he ran he would become the butt of jokes and lose whatever tiny shreds of respect he still has. So Trump returns to his show, and it is better than he deserves considering he’s, you know, a terrible human being and all. On this week’s finale, the remaining contestants will be “interviewed” by Joan Rivers, Piers Morgan and Bret Michaels, and if you can think of another scenario where this would ever happen, you’re more imaginative than we are. (Global, 9 p.m. Sunday)